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The Journey to Wanderlust

by Wanderlust director Ruby Willmann

In sixth grade, my class and I were assigned to make a token for our school to commemorate our graduation from the safe place of elementary school into the scary and daunting world of junior high. So, as a class, we decided to make stepping stones that would snake through the school’s front garden. We raised money for one bag of wet concrete and we each brought knick-knacks from our houses. We matted the concrete into circular shapes the sizes of our faces, and, as others placed their favorite colored marbles or action figurines into the concrete, I ripped out the pages of an old storybook and carefully pressed the tattered words into my sticky stepping stone. Why? Because at twelve years old, the most personal thing I could offer was my love for storytelling.

Now, twelve years later, as my husband and I prepare to move away from Austin to Los Angeles, I find myself leaving one last token, one last mark. It’s the one thing that has proven to be the only way for me to truly leave a bit of myself behind – a story.

Wanderlust tells the tale of two friends embarking on a journey together. We see this through the lens of a memory which allows us to bend reality because, as many of us know, memories and storytelling go hand in hand. Our emotions color our experiences, our regrets influence our recollections, and we relive our memories through a filter of hopes and wishes and wonder. Wanderlust creates a stage where reality battles perception, and, through it all, our two heroes undergo a shared journey of love, laughter and discovery.

I didn’t expect that while attempting to bring this show to life onstage, I would find myself simultaneously living it out offstage. But before I knew it, Wanderlust had jumpstarted a shared journey between myself and my co-director, Aaron Saenz. Through pitch creations, auditions, casting, countless meetings and rehearsals, every stage of this project tested, amplified and solidified the friendship Aaron and I shared. As we directed a make-believe show centering around a single, fictitious relationship, I found myself discovering, developing and delighting in a single friendship worthy of fiction. This project went from being mine to being ours, and with that, Wanderlust truly came to life.

In truth, solitary storytelling inevitably becomes as hard and stale as the stepping stone I made when I was twelve. In sixth grade I read so many books and wrote so many stories, but I always read and wrote them alone. Today, however, I write them with others, and the light that these stories shine has yet to lead me astray.

I wanted to write this blog before Wanderlust premiered because I wanted to emphasize that this story, while far from finished, has already taken on a life of its own. It is already filled with love. It is already filled with heart. It is already a success. I will always remember this road, and I will always remember I travelled it with friends. Ironically, in my effort to leave a bit of myself behind, I ended up discovering a new part of myself to take with me when I leave.

An incredible thank you to the performing cast and tech of Wanderlust for taking on such an extremely ambitious and vulnerable show. Thank you to the Hideout Theater for placing trust in Aaron and me. And thank you most of all to Aaron for being my steadfast companion through this unforgettable journey.

We would love to see you in the audience of Wanderlust as we bring memories to life every Saturday at 8pm, in January and February at The Hideout Theater.

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Troy Miller’s 5 most Dreadful Inspirations

A Penny Dreadful runs Saturdays Dec. 13, Dec. 20 and Jan. 3 at 6pm

Click here to buy tickets now!

Hideout Theatre’s most recent student MainStage production, A Penny Dreadful, is the brainchild of longtime Hideout teacher and performer Troy Miller,  who shared with us his top 5 inspirations for the show:

1.  Hammer Films - Hammer may be the quintessential film production unit specifically associated with the horror genre, often taking their cue from published literary works. I think “Horror of Dracula” is their best, and one of the best Dracula interpretations – Christopher Lee has very little dialogue: it’s all in his face. That’s something we’ve emphasized in our show.

2. Edgar Allen Poe - Poe’s works (both literary and some of the film adaptations) drip with atmosphere and have rather epic climaxes to their intimate tales of madness and doomed love – I love “The Fall of the House of Usher” and how, quite literally, the house crumbles and falls into the mire at the end.

 

3. “Rebecca” - Alfred Hitchock’s film hints at the supernatural, and lures a very innocent character into what may be a very sinister and deadly environment. The hinting at (and then sufficiently explaining away) what might be too terrible to comprehend is a key element of how scenes play out in the show.

 

4. “Creepy” and “Eerie”- These were horror anthology magazines, comic books, that I used to read as a kid – kind of like “Tales from the Crypt” – good lurid, spooky stuff, with tongue-in-cheek humor, sort of what a modern “penny dreadful” might look like. I liked the covers which were vividly and colorfully illustrated: to me, gothic horror is not black and white, it’s deep reds and greens and blues.

 

5. Scooby Doo - Yeah, I know. But gosh darn it, I’ve got a soft spot for it. And basically, Scooby and the gang were always investigating classic horror goings-ons (ghosts, vampires, werewolves) that were revealed, ultimately, to be some half-baked scheme. Sure, much gothic horror is supernatural (“Dracula”), but there’s an equal amount that’s real people doing vile things, all in the name of love or justice… or just good ‘ol fashioned madness!

 

A Penny Dreadful runs Saturdays Dec. 13, Dec. 20 and Jan. 3 at 6pm
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Announcing the 2015 Season and Schedule

Here it is. The 2015 Hideout Mainstage Season.

I am stupidly excited. It was extremely difficult to put together, but oh so worth it.

So, without further delay, here it is:


Planning on seeing all of the 2015 season? Why not buy a Season Pass!?
Buy Now

2015 Season Pass – $60 $55 through Dec 1st! 
1 ticket to each of our 2015 Mainstage shows. A $72 value!

Right out of the gate, we’re blasting forward with a new show and a new director. Building off the energy of I Love You So Much and hitting the road, Ruby Willmann is directing Wanderlust, a soul searching journey involving music and movement.

Then, Austin Secrets is back! We took a year off, but we’re returning for a fifth season. It’s awesome that in the year we took off, BATs in San Francisco did SF Secrets, a run of Twin City Secrets just wrapped, and Portland Secrets had a second run. Now the show returns home.

Troy A. Miller returns to direct a mainstage, his last being in 2012 with Hitchcocked! This time he’s directing a full on murder mystery in the style of Agatha Christie, where (rumor has it) not even the improvisers will know the murderer til the end.

THEN, the show that 1000 people have asked for is finally happening. Ryan Austin and I will be directing an improvised Disney-style musical. Not appropriating any source material (don’t sue us!), but taking our inspiration from the types of stories and songs that have charmed us over the years. Ammon Taylor is on board as the musical director, so half the work is done for us.

After that we totally flip musicals on their head, as Valerie Ward continues her road to darkness with A Deed So Dark, a show about American Murder Ballads, featuring improvised songs of woe and the stories behind them.

And then finally Kaci Beeler wraps up the year with 1960s TV Westerns. Kaci knows all the words (yes, words) to the Bonanza theme song. Make her sing them for you some time.

So there you have it. I hope you love it. I do.

It’s gonna be a hell of a year,
Roy Janik
Artistic Director 


Planning on seeing all of the 2015 season? Why not buy a Season Pass!?
Buy Now

2015 Season Pass – $60 $55 through Dec 1st! 
1 ticket to each of our 2015 Mainstage shows. A $72 value!

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